Whos keeping an eye on me....

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Venezuela - Part 2 The Llanos (the Birdlife)

This was the first excursion away from Casa Maria. A four hour drive to a cattle ranch and nature reserve called Hato Piñero, which covers much of the central llanos (wetlands and grasslands) of Venezuela and is situated near to Cojedes. Hato Piñero certainly offers the best of the Venezuelan llanos and is home to over 350 species of birds and mammals. The next chapter will look at the Mammals of the Llanos leaving this chapter dedicated to some of the birdlife.

We arrived late afternoon and were quickly introduced to what was going to be an exceptional raptor fest.... a pair of White Tailed Hawks displayed near to the entrance gates. A few miles further ahead we reached the ranch and soon found the local birdlife in and around the courtyard .... a magnificant pair of Scarlet Macaws and plenty of Yellow headed Caracara

This is a working Cattle ranch so for us UK citizens it was quite a treat to see real Cowboys at work

and of course where there are cattle there are birds

Jabiru - standing his ground

The ranch is only a part of the reserve, countless pools and lagoons line the tracks although this was towards the end of the dry season so some had dried and others were close to drying out. Where there was water we were treated to some stunning water birds....  so many species of Egrets and Ibis and our target birds did not dissapoint!

Scarlet Ibis

as did a host of other wonderful waders

Roseate Spoonbill

Rufescent Tiger-Heron

Whistling Heron

Sharp Tailed Ibis

and Buff Necked Ibis

of course there were plenty of the smaller species at Hato Pinero including White Bearded Flycatcher, Ringed Kingfisher, White Headed Marsh Tyrant, Red Capped Cardinal, Black Crested Antshrike, Black Fringed Antwren, Vermillion Flycatcher, Bi-coloured Wren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, and the national bird of Venezuela .....

Venezuelan Troupial.

Hoatzin were noisy, clumsy and fun

Sun bittern 

a stunning wingspan

Russet Throated Puffbird
 pretending to be a kingfisher 

Amazon Kingfisher 

and some of the smallest species

Saffron Finch

Stripe-Backed Wren 

Brown Crested Flycatcher

Streaked Flycatcher

Common Thornbird 

Crimson-crested Woodpecker

Pied Marsh Tyrant 

 Fork-tailed Flycatcher

and not forgetting the very special endemic species
Yellow Knobbed Currasow

alas this is too long and still so much to show from the Llanos and Hato Pinero
I will follow with a another post looking at the raptors amd mammals..... dont miss it!!

now its time to roost....

Scarlet Ibis and Mixed Egrets

evening draws in on the Llanos

and a little night life..... this Double striped Thick Knee got caught in the headlights and stayed on the road just in front of us for well over a mile

a very special sighting while heading back for diner!


fjällripan said...

Great post! You captured some really fascinating birds!! They are all unknown to me :)

HansHB said...

Awesome post for WBW! Gorgeous photos!

theconstantwalker said...

Fantastic images Dave... what a great trip.

Unknown said...

Fantastic selection of birds!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Joanne Olivieri said...

What a fantastic variety of birds you captured here. All beautifully colored and detailed.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, what am amazing trip. the birds are all just beautiful. Your photos are awesome. Well done!

mick said...

All those exotic birds are wonderful but it is also great to see some that must be closely related to familiar birds here.

Sallie (FullTime-Life.com said...

Wow, what an amazing vacation and an amazing day of birding! Thanks for sharing. (We have the roseate spoonbills here in Florida, but I think every one of the other birds was new and different for me.)

Anonymous said...

What a extraordinary mix of birds, excellent post!

Brian King said...

Fantastic shots, Dave! You've got some extraordinary birds! I really like the Caracara and the Tiger and Whistling herons.

NatureStop said...

Really enjoyed your post...what a treat!! great captures...will be back.


Springman said...

As far as birding goes you are the hottest thing on the web right now Dave. What a pleasure to live vicariously through your lens. I think you are selling many a trip to Venezula with these incredible sights. Nice to see cattle on the range too. Crazy good stuff.
What a magnificent planet we share!

Arija said...

What a fantastic collection of birds and other earth in habitants. A really great post!

joo said...

What an impressive collection of photos! I love them all!

Pat said...

Super-duper collection of fabulous shots!